Don't Break These Five Items While Moving

By Patrick Galvan,

Regardless of whether you’re hiring a moving company or transporting your belongings on your own, you must take care to protect your possessions when moving items out of your home, into a storage unit, and to a new home. This includes proper packaging for certain items, as well as preventing personal injury when loading and unloading.

If you’re careless when moving your belongings between homes, items can get broken, which either means repairing them or replacing them. Unfortunately, some sentimental items, such as family heirlooms, photos, and antiques can’t be replaced. Because of this, you need to be cautious when moving these items from your home.

Here are five common household items that need extra care when moving.

1. Electronics

One thing you must always remember is electronics are extremely fragile. Plasma-screen TVs, desktop computers and laptops, camcorders, stereo equipment, video game consoles—all are delicate and expensive, so you’ll want to protect these investments with careful packing. Below are some tips for packing electronics:

  • If you had to assemble the electronic device when you first got it, you may be able to disassemble it for moving, which will make carrying it or storing it in a box easier.
  • Be sure to unplug all cables from TVs, computers, stereos, and game consoles. If cables are hanging when you’re trying to move these devices, you could get stuck in them or trip over them, which will cause personal injury. A good way to prevent this is to wrap cables in loops secured with twist-ties.
  • It’s best to pack all electronic accessories, such as remotes, headphones, cables, cords, and mice, in separate boxes from TVs, computers, stereos, and game consoles. This keeps them from damaging the devices and vice versa.

For the best packing, store electronics in their original boxes, as these were specifically designed for their shape and size. If you no longer have the boxes, place your electronics in cardboard boxes with soft padding (such as Styrofoam or newspaper). Also, water is a death sentence to electronics. If you’re loading/unloading belongings in the rain or snow, be sure to cover items or boxes with waterproof material, like plastic tarps.

2. Heavy Furniture

Exercise caution when transporting heavy furniture, such as sofas, couches, dressers, tables, chairs, and mattresses. Furniture with wooden components in particular are prone to scratches and blemishes. To prevent this, wrap your wooden furniture with bubble wrap, and do not stack other items on top of them.

Also, lifting heavy items can lead to personal injury should you strain yourself or accidentally drop the item. To avoid damage to the item and/or yourself, have a second person hold the other end of the item and carry it together. This way, it will be easier to maneuver around corners, as well as up flights of stairs without bumping into anything. You can also set the furniture on dollies (which many storage facilities will offer for free or with a small fee) and furniture pads to move them.

3. Antiques

Antique collectibles aren’t exactly easy (or cheap) to come by, so you’ll want to pack and transport them safely. Just like electronics, store them in a box with cushioning material to protect their delicate surfaces. With antiques, a few wraps of cotton shipping pads should be enough to cushion their weight and prevent surface blemishing. Other collectible items, such as marble statues, will fare better if they’re properly packed in shipping crates with packing peanuts or other types of foam.

When it comes to transporting antiques, never stack them or stand them up. Damage is basically unavoidable should they tip over and fall to the floor. Also, if you’re packing antique items in a car or moving truck where you can’t hold them, don’t shove them between other items that could slide and crush them.

4. Glassware and China

With glassware and porcelain cups, a cardboard cell pack is the safest means of insulation. This will keep your entire collection together without cramming them. You don’t want to transport them from one home to the next only to find their surfaces have become scratched or shattered due to dense packing.

Before placing them in the cell pack, you should also place crumbled bundles of packing paper inside each glass and gently wrap the entire glass in tissue paper or newspaper. It wouldn’t hurt to also place some cotton or bubble wrap on top of the cell pack to prevent the contents from bouncing during the move.

China is another fragile collection that needs attention. For plates, serving trays, and other china, place packing foam at the bottom of the shipping container and stack everything standing up on their edges. Fill the space around their edges with crumpled newspaper so they’re firmly held in place.

5. Artwork

If you own an art collection (or have spent years creating one of your own), you’ll want to get your money’s worth by properly preserving each piece for the move. Remember: Different kinds of art require different conditions for transportation. Here are examples of ways to pack three types of artwork:

  • Unframed paintings should be rolled into diameter tubes to prevent crinkles in their surfaces. A filing cabinet or long cardboard box would be a good place to store these provided you don’t store anything else with them.
  • Framed artwork should be wrapped with acid-free tissue paper and laid down on the back of the frame, as standing them upright could make them fall over.
  • For glass and marble tops, wrap each piece delicately in newspaper or bubble wrap before loading into a box or crate cushioned with moving pads.

When moving and storing items of a delicate nature, always label each box or crate as “Fragile” and draw up arrows so anyone helping you with your move knows to handle items carefully. By following these tips, you can avoid damaging any of these common items that break during moving.